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Palm Coast Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 1 year ago

Where is the love? Fans need to show up for all sports, not just football

As supporters of a school, you need to show up for your athletes.
by: Ray Boone Sports Editor

A few weeks ago, I drove to Flagler Palm Coast High School to cover the boys soccer match between crosstown rivals FPC and Matanzas.

Matanzas goal keeper Brandt Herron leaps for a save in the first half. Photo by Ray Boone

I had never covered a boys soccer game until that point, but any time the Bulldogs square off against the Pirates, I expect it to be a pretty meaningful game for the area’s fans. But after what I saw in the stands at Sal Campanella Memorial Stadium, I’m not so sure anymore.

There were maybe 100 spectators total at the most — and that’s being generous.

Now, are these great teams? No.

The Bulldogs are 1-6-1, and the Pirates are 3-3. By no stretch of the imagination are they powerhouse squads.

But are they teams of Flagler County schools? Yes, and that should make all the difference.

Before the start of the 2017-18 school year, I had never covered a high school football game. The first game I went to? FPC versus Matanzas, and, boy, was I impressed. Like a can of sardines, the stands were so packed, they were overflowing. Hundreds of people watched the game standing along the fence near the field. And this is mostly true for the remainder of FPC and Matanzas’ football games. The opposing team’s fans didn’t always show up, but you could sure as heck count on waves and waves of Bulldogs and Pirates fans. And that’s something to be proud of.

But, football season is over now, and it’s time to move on. At least, until next season comes around.

Fans need to show up for the area’s athletes — all of its athletes.

Soccer was just one example, too. FPC and Matanzas have a bevy of other sports that are going to compete at a high level this season.

For the Bulldogs: the girls soccer team is one of the top teams in the area, the girls weightlifting squad has a shot at states and the wrestling team, as always, is in good shape.

For the Pirates: the wrestling team is solid once again, and boys basketball coach Donald Lockhart recently reached 100 wins for his career.

So, my question is, why can’t these teams get the same support as the football teams, both of which were bounced in the first round of this year’s FHSAA Playoffs?

It’s not fair, and it’s not right.

Kids, regardless of the sport, need as much support as they can get.

To the fans who do show up: Keep doing what you’re doing. But to the vast majority who don’t: Where’s your support for the kids who are just trying to give it their all for their school every game?

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